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Baltimore Ravens' Steve Smith '89 percent sure' to retire after Bengals game

By Todd Karpovich, The Sports Xchange

Baltimore Ravens receiver Steve Smith started his press conference saying he was "89 percent sure" that he was ready to retire after Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. File Photo by Pete Marovich/UPI
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Baltimore Ravens receiver Steve Smith became emotional several times while talking to reporters about his impending last NFL game on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
While Smith started the press conference saying he was "89 percent sure" that he was ready to retire, he gradually sounded like he was at peace with the decision to walk away from the game.
"I'm going to miss it," Smith said. "I'm going to mourn. It's something that's part of my life for 16 years. There will be a transition."
At age 37, Smith was still one of Baltimore's top playmakers. He has caught 67 passes for 765 yards and leads the team with five touchdown receptions and 12 grabs over 20 yards.
Smith had planned to retire at the end of the 2015 season. However, the year was cut short because of a torn Achilles and he did not want to end his career on that note.
If Smith does decide to step away from the game, he will be missed by his teammates.
Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco remembers the first pass he threw to Smith in practice. The ball should have hit Smith in the numbers. Instead, Smith made a pivot and made a one-handed catch while running upfield.
"Steve is unbelievable," Flacco said. "I have nothing but great things to say about him and my time spent with him. I feel fortunate to be with him. His competitive nature, the way he plays this game and the talent that he has, he's definitely unique and a rare breed. Any time you get a chance to play with a guy that is truly a legend in this game, you have to count yourself lucky."
Smith is just one of just 11 players all-time have to more than 1,000 catches and 14,000 yards receiving.
-- The Ravens appear highly motivated to build a serious playoff contender in the offseason.
Despite missing the postseason for the third time in four years, Baltimore was much improved from last season when the team finished 5-11.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh does not think the team is too far away from becoming dangerous again.
"I think all of our guys are very highly motivated, no matter what," Harbaugh said. "Of course, we feel very excited about where we are as a football team. I know we are a good football team. I know we are a very good football team. That is evident in the way we play."

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